Atlantic City

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Atlantic City

Atlantic City, city (1990 pop. 37,986), Atlantic co., SE N.J., an Atlantic resort and convention center; settled c.1790, inc. 1854. Situated on Absecon Island, a barrier island 10 mi (16.1 km) long, Atlantic City was a fishing village until the construction in 1854 of a railroad that made it a fashionable resort for Philadelphians and New Yorkers. Atlantic City's chief industry remains tourism, with some 24 million visitors annually. The first boardwalk was built in 1870, and its present incarnation, lined with casinos, hotels, shops, and amusements, is 6 mi (9.7 km) long. The casino industry, which was legalized in 1976 and began in 1978, at one time rivaled that in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the industry contracted after legalized gambling became more common in neighboring states, and by 2016 the city suffered from significant financial problems and faced a five-year state financial takeover. Urban blight, which continued during the casino boom years, remains a problem. Atlantic City has a large convention center. The Democratic national convention took place in the city in 1964, and the Miss America Pageant was held there annually from 1921 to 2005. Absecon Lighthouse, in operation 1854–1932, attracts tourists. The first Ferris wheel was built in Atlantic City in 1869. The board game Monopoly, which makes use of area street names, was invented here in 1930. In 2012 the city suffered significant flooding from Hurricane Sandy.

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